Founder, Senior Bishop and First
BISHOP IDA ROBINSON
peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the
Sister Ida, Mother, Evangelist
Robinson, Elder Robinson, and Bishop were some of the names that Ida
Bell Robinson fondly answered to. From a child she was gifted with a
kind of charisma that attracted people of all ages. Her happy face,
pleasant smile, and charming personality, contributed to her magnetic
leadership qualities. God endowed young Ida with characteristics that
would help to make her the vessel of His choice. He empowered her with
the ability to grasp and apply spiritual truth in her life. She learned
to establish right priorities and to stand firm, with confidence, in the
will of God.
Bishop Ida Robinson was born to Robert
and Annie Bell on August 3, 1891, in Hazlehurst, Georgia. She spent her
childhood in Pensacola, Florida. Since she was her parent’s seventh
child, they expected her to be a success and achieve something great.
Needless to say, she met their expectations.
At age seventeen, while attending a
Street service in Pensacola, Ida learned of Holiness and the need to
live a life committed to Christ. The street service was conducted by
members of the Church of God. The black and white uniforms of the saints
left quite an impression on the new young saint who had just been
endowed with the sanctifying power of God. Black dresses with starched
white cuffs and collars later became the outfits that identified the
early members of the Mount Sinai Holy Church of America, Incorporated.
In 1910, Miss Ida Bell married Mr.
Oliver Robinson. There were no children born to this union;
however, later on during their life together, they adopted a niece, also
named Ida Bell. The niece was the daughter of Bishop Robinson’s
brother, Charles. Another Ida Bell became Ida Robinson.
When the Robinsons heard that they
could get work in Philadelphia, they journeyed from Pensacola to
Philadelphia in 1917. For Sister Ida it meant leaving behind
neighborhood prayer meetings that had resulted from street evangelism.
In Philadelphia, Sister Ida Robinson
continued her ministry. She joined a small congregation at Seventeenth
and South Streets, That congregation was pastored by Elder Benjamin
Smith. At times, Sister Ida would fill in for the pastor. Her
outstanding preaching and singing caused her popularity to increase
among the membership. An. uncomfortable situation arose causing Sister
Robinson to seek fellowship elsewhere. She affiliated herself with the
United Holy Church of America where she was consecrated to the
ministry through Ordination. Her ordination was done publicly by Bishop
Henry L. Fisher, who along with other officials of the United Holy
Church had recognized her ability as a “Gospel Preacher.”
In 1919, Elder Robinson was installed
as pastor of Mount Olive, a small mission that was affiliated
with the United Holy Church. There, she stressed and preached holiness
as a divine requirement; holiness as a work of the Holy Ghost; holiness
as a condition to seeing God. While the Congregation grew, the Spirit of
God used her mightily. During that time women preachers were almost
unheard of, but Elder Robinson had a strong conviction that God had
called her to the ministry.
1924 became a significant year in the
life of Elder Ida Robinson. On several occasions God had revealed
Himself through visions and dreams. He had made her to know that she was
to be an instrument in His hand to establish a church that would allow
full clergy rights to women. While fasting and praying in the church for
ten days, she again received a revelation from God. As she
related, “The Holy Ghost spoke and said, ‘Come out on Mount Sinai.”
After receiving this message from God, Elder Robinson was fully
convinced that she understood what God meant for her to do.
On May 20, 1924, the State of
Pennsylvania granted her a charter for the church. Recalling that God
had spoken to her to “Come out on Mount Sinai,” the charter for the new
church was granted under the name of the Mount Sinai Holy Church of
Mount Sinai began to grow rapidly.
Bishop Robinson was a gifted evangelist and leader. Through a great deal
of traveling, she was able to evangelize and to visit most of her
affiliated churches in other states. The incorporated church grew
larger and more widespread. To strengthen the general organization, an
Annual Convocation was instituted. This Annual meeting was first held in
Philadelphia for eight days in September, 1925.
Working tirelessly for years, Bishop
Robinson saw Mount Sinai grow into one of the largest Pentecostal
Organizations, started by a woman, in America. Her years of labor
resulted in many being committed to Christ in many cities along the east
coast of the United States. Reaching out through other dedicated
evangelists and missionaries, she was successful also in establishing
churches in Cuba and British Guiana (now Guyana), South America.
Under the years of strain, Bishop
Robinson’s health began to fail. Knowing that her time was short, she
had a desire to visit the churches in Florida. On April 6, 1946, she and
several others left Philadelphia to go to Florida. Her first stop in
Florida was Jacksonville. From there she journeyed on to Winter Haven
where on April 20, 1946, she went home to be with the Lord.